Poll: Biggest Latino Sell-Out Mayor in Southern Califas!


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It’s been quite a week of events for LA/OC’s Latino Mayors.

Let’s start in Los Angeles with Antonio Villaraigosa. An article in today’s edition of the LA Times sums it up pretty well writing, “On Tuesday, he delivered a speech lambasting the Los Angeles teachers union as a major impediment to school reform. On Wednesday, he defended President Obama’s controversial tax compromise, even as other Democrats bayed in opposition. Later that day, he joined other big-city mayors in Chicago to call for the reform of public employee pensions that have hamstrung city budgets.” DAYUM! Attacking the UTLA, supporting Obama’s tax capitulation, and ragging on public pensions in Chicago – all in one week!

Villaraigosa used to be a progressive. He used to be a union organizer. He used to be in MEChA during his days as a student at UCLA. He used to be VP of the ACLU of Southern California. He used to be a lot of things before going to City Hall. After getting there, under his watch the South Central Farm was destroyed, the LAPD went “clubbin” on immigrant rights marchers, Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines got capped and the Mayor was quick to get Chief Charlie Beck’s back!

After all this the Mayor still tells the press “I’m unabashedly progressive, but I’m also unabashedly practical and pragmatic.” LOL!

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To the south of Villaraigosa is Santa Ana’s very own Mayor Miguel Pulido. His early days contain none of the credentials of his northern counterpart. A creation myth known to all about him exists anyway. Back in the 80’s Pulido’s family muffler shop was subject to be razed by a downtown redevelopment plan thrusting him into politics in a fight against city hall. This soon translated into a successful bid for the City Council. The Latino small business owner vs. the pinche redevelopers! Only as an old LAT write-up noted, “During the waning days of campaigning, Pulido angered some Latino leaders by issuing a mailer urging strict enforcement of laws affecting undocumented workers.” Those original campaign mailers plus others resurfaced this year and could make Allan Mansoor blush! The progressive “origin myth” of his early political career is just that, a myth. Unlike Villaraigosa, Pulido, who rarely talks to the press, has never publicly claimed to be “unabashedly progressive.” That’s a narrative that has been created for him, not by him (you know because in the run up to an election year he supported Harvey Milk day and opposed Arizona’s SB 1070 bill without ever explaining away his past)

As a current proponent of gentrification via re-renaissance, he could also be critiqued as selling out his political genesis myth – if it was indeed motivated by anything other than self-interest. Pulido’s vision extends beyond Santa Ana though. He was recently in the news for his involvement in what OJ Editor Vern Nelson has called “sleasing” – the Governator’s tax-payer ball busting move to sell public buildings and lease them back from private investors at a loss. Pulido was poised to receive compensation for his involvement before his role surfaced in the press and the story changed oh so quickly! Such a “mauve moment” doesn’t belong in the category of “progressive” politics. It’s corporate and that’s all it ever can be! Hell, and we haven’t even arrived to the Mayor’s Tuesday inauguration date yet!

Lastly, Pulido is such a talented sell-out that he makes others do the same. Now that’s gacho!

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There you have it folks. LA vs. OC. Villaraigosa vs. Pulido. It’s almost like Boxeo Telemundo! In assessing “sell-outs” you can use two criteria. The trajectory of progressive politics to corporatist “moderation” or the extent in which such corporatism is metered out against the people. For me, the former is much more dramatic and tops in theatrical flair. Therefore, my vote goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. You win the FTP trophy!

Meanwhile, somewhere in the reaches of our collective historical memory lays the real example of municipal raza progressivism: the lessons of the Cristal experiment…more on that later!


About Gabriel San Roman